Abortion, alcohol and gun laws passed by 87th Legislature effective Sept. 1

Abortion, alcohol and gun laws passed by 87th Legislature effective Sept. 1

Abortion, alcohol and guns are some of the topics among new laws effective Wednesday, Sept. 1. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

A new abortion bill, two alcohol bills and a gun bill will all become laws effective Sept. 1 as signed by Gov. Greg Abbott over the past few months.

Heartbeat bill

In a law that directly opposes the landmark case of Roe v. Wade, the “heartbeat” bill goes into effect Sept. 1, restricting women from having an abortion starting at six weeks into pregnancy. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals canceled a hearing planned for Aug. 30, when over 20 abortion providers hoped to persuade the law be blocked.

The “heartbeat” bill term, which was coined because abortions will not be allowed once a heartbeat during an ultrasound is detected, was signed May 19.

Since Senate Bill 8 was signed into law in May, organizations such as Planned Parenthood and individual physicians on behalf of themselves and their patients have taken action through a federal lawsuit due to the “flagrantly” violating nature of constitutional rights, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit cited that many women do not even know they are pregnant by the six-week mark and that this bill will create “absolute chaos” and cause irreparable damage to Texans, especially Texans who are Black, indigenous or people of color.

“The burdens of this cruel law will fall most heavily on Black, Latinx and indigenous patients who, because of systemic racism, already encounter substantial barriers obtaining health care,” the lawsuit stated.

Though the law includes a medical emergency exception, it offers no exception to victims of rape, sexual assault or incest. Anyone who seeks an abortion or helps someone receive an abortion for any reason can be sued by any private citizen.

Alcohol consumption

Born as a result of the pandemic, Abbott made to-go alcohol a permanent feature for restaurants and bars May 12 with the signing of this bill. House Bill 1024 now allows beer, wine and mixed beverages to be picked up with to-go orders or delivered to patrons, so long as the order also includes food.

When COVID-19 struck the United States and shut down all but essential services, Abbott signed a waiver allowing alcohol to be more readily available, which helped keep some of the service industry afloat. Now, it is not an exception but a law.

Drinks may be ordered via a third-party ordering service and must be delivered within the county where the business is located. There is no required food-to-alcohol ratio, and the recipients must prove valid identification and cannot already be intoxicated.

Additionally, House Bill 1518, signed May 17, will now allow retailers to sell alcohol starting at 10 a.m. instead of noon on Sundays. None of the other days of the week are affected, and alcohol is still allowed to be sold starting at 7 a.m.

Permitless carry

Texans will no longer need any training or a license to openly carry a handgun with the signing of House Bill 1927 on June 16. The state joins 19 other states that have a “constitutional carry” law, or a law that does not require a permit.

Prior to this new bill, applicants were required to submit their fingerprints, undergo up to six hours of training and pass a written exam and a shooting test. HB 1927 now makes it optional.

The same eligibility requirements apply at being 21 years old, passing a background check and not having a felony or domestic violence conviction.

However, guns are still banned in places such as hospitals, amusement parks and correctional facilities, to name a few.

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